Self-control moderates the association between perceived severity of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and mental health problems among the Chinese public

Research output: Contribution to journalArticles

Abstract

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has caused thousands of deaths in China. Prior research suggests that individuals' perceived severity of COVID-19 is related to a range of negative emotional and behavioral reactions among the Chinese public. However, scant research has examined the underlying mechanisms. Drawing upon the risk-resilience model, this study proposes that self-control, as a resilient factor, would potentially moderate the association between perceived severity of COVID-19 and mental health problems. Data from a national survey was used to examine this idea. Participants were 4607 citizens from 31 regions in China (Mage = 23.71 years, 72.5% female) who completed a national survey at the beginning of February 2020. Results of hierarchical regression showed that after controlling for a number of demographic variables, perceived severity of COVID-19 and self-control were positively and negatively related to mental health problems, respectively. More importantly, self-control moderated the "perceived severity of COVID-19–mental health problems" association, with this link attenuating as the levels of self-control increased. These findings suggest that compared to those with high self-control, individuals with low self-control are more vulnerable and are more in need of psychological aids to maintain mental health in the encounter of the COVID-19 outbreak. Practically, enhancing individuals' self-control ability might be a promising way to improve individuals' mental health during the early period of the COVID-19 outbreak. Copyright © 2020 by the authors.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4820
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume17
Issue number13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020

Citation

Li, J.-B., Yang, A., Dou, K., & Cheung, R. Y. M. (2020). Self-control moderates the association between perceived severity of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and mental health problems among the Chinese public. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(13). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17134820

Keywords

  • Risk factor
  • Resilience
  • Cognitive appraisal
  • Self-control
  • COVID-19
  • Public health concerns

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